Prayer beads have been used for centuries to keep track of repetitions of prayers, mantras, devotions used by most religions throughout history. Since beads can be fingered in an automatic manner, it allows one to keep track of their prayers without putting much thought into, allowing one the ability to concentrate more on the prayer itself.
In Buddhism, japa malas traditionaly consist of 108 beads or a divisor of that number. 27 are used in a wrist mala.In Tibetan Buddhism one mala counts as 100 mantras, and the 8 extra are meant to be dedicated to all sentient beings (the practice as a whole is dedicated at its end as well).
In Christianity, knotted ropes were traditionally used to count prayers, usually the Jesus Prayer.The Roman Catholics used the rosary, in Islam, the Misbaha.
Non-demoninational pulls frm many different faiths. It allows one to practice their meditation and prayers, using different symbols that mean something to them.
In this 108 bead mala I made, I used turquoise, which is a good stone used for wholeness,communication and spiritual expression, I also used smokey quartz which is used for grounding, getting rid of negative energy,practicality, organization, and manifestation of ones dreams and inspirations.I used agate which is good for vitality, sexuality, creativity and will. My guru bead is a lotus flower. The lotus represents purity and enlightenment, or the awakening of spirituality.It forms in the murkiest of waters, and as it rises toward the sun and emerges from the water, not one dropof mud is on the flower, it is pure.